My alarm goes off at 9:30 every morning.
It’s not there to get me out of bed (my body pretty reliably does that).
It’s not there to tell me I’m late (every day is different).
It’s there to tell me to love the world.
I have an Android phone. It lets me change things, including what my alarm says. This one says, Love the fuck into the world, darlin’
That’s what the alarm is called. It goes off three times a day: morning, noon, and night. And right up on the screen, love the fuck into the world, darlin’.
It’s my personal call to prayer.
See, there’s this idea that goes around the world, about praying without ceasing, let every breath be a prayer.
There’s this idea that goes around about loving the world like you love yourself, about living your deepest and most truly held beliefs. There’s this idea about living what you believe being the best thing you can do.
And in the end, the only thing you can do.
Church, religion, belief, morality, love isn’t set-it-and-forget-it. It’s not something you do once and you’re done. Love is a choice you make every day, every hour, every minute. Doing what’s right is a decision and a habit and a practice. It’s a Thing.
That’s why, if you dig into the old faith traditions, they’re embedded in daily life. Pray in the morning, pray three times a day, pray before bed, give alms to the poor, fast, keep the sabbath, eat the right foods, meditate, get on your knees, stand and face the sun, whatever it is–whatever it is–it happens over and over and over. It goes from one thing to another, from rule to practice to ritual, hand over hand, until each breath is a prayer.
Each breath is a prayer.
That’s how I want to live. Each breath a prayer: of gratitude, of remembrance, of strength, of giving, of love.
But I don’t.
I live in this world laced with Facebook and car accidents and bills and tourists and HouseHunters International and sometimes, much as I would like to, I fail to see the opportunity for prayer.
Sometimes one is staring me in the face and I ignore it.
Sometimes I don’t even realize that the grace was there for me to offer, if I had just paid attention.
Sometimes, I forget that all of us, even me, are the hands of the Holy.
We are each the incarnation, the hopes of the world made flesh, given this skin and these bones to make heaven out of this belabored paradise.
In our highest work, we bring peace to the wounds of war, we bring love to the broken hearts of hate, we bring unity where we are divided, yes we are divided. We are healing ourselves, we are sacred and profane, together–together in one complicated paradoxical body.
We are one.
So my alarm goes off to call me back to that. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. But I cannot–I dare not–fail to try.